How Elizabeth Warren Made Identity Politics Work...for Her
We have the DNA test results of Elizabeth Warren. It turns out she's right: she is part American Indian. That is, about one one thousandth – somewhere between six and ten generations ago, she possibly had a American Indian ancestor, according to expert Dr. Carlos Bustamante of Stanford University. One could say she is vindicated, or one could say the test is inconclusive or fraudulent or the percentage of American Indian heritage in her biology is inconsequential, or one could say, as Donald Trump did, "Who cares?" He might be on to something important. "Who cares?" is the right answer.
Instead of supporting Warren's claim, which on its face is ridiculous, or castigating her, as most Republicans and the Cherokee Nation have done, let's look for the actual culprit.
The bad guy here isn't just Elizabeth Warren. Here's a leftist white female with ambition to "be somebody." She knew that "white privilege" is a myth. She could've allowed herself to be buried in some red-state "Moo U" – hardly a milepost for an energized, motivated leftist – or seen the advantages in checking the box by anything but "Caucasian." If you were a right-wing extremist, you could make the case that a Caucasian woman should have as much right to hiring preference as a Cherokee woman. But as a leftist, Elizabeth Warren just had to be cynical – so she was.
She is guilty only of seeking equal opportunity, or a better opportunity than her female Caucasian peers. By using the system this way to her advantage, Warren has shown what a mockery we have made of "equal opportunity" in America. She was more productive, creative and successful at this than those "honest" citizens who took on the system by beating their brains out on a brick wall. She unmasked the absurdity of a practice put in place by her leftist colleagues and herself. All she has in the way of battle scars are a few unkind words from people she doesn't respect that much anyway – the president and the Cherokee Nation (an insignificant demographic), whose identity she traded on to advance her career. She's a success – Harvard professor and U.S. senator. Warren just used the system she and her colleagues on the left created – a system that required her to pass herself off as a minority, to participate in identity politics.
Not so others, who have said the system is "wrong." There was Allan Bakke, a white engineer, former Marine officer, and aspiring medical student who sued the University of California because although he was qualified and outranked some others who were accepted, his application to medical school was rejected. The Supreme Court decided that although quotas are unacceptable, it is acceptable to use race to evaluate candidates – whatever that means.
Most of us recognize the role race plays in hiring – especially in government jobs. I imagine that few Caucasian applicants fill out those "voluntary" survey forms that ask for their race.
In America, most Caucasians are a mixture of ethnic groups. I can count 16 different ethnic identities within my own knowledge of my family history. They span Europe from Iberia to the Steppes of Central Asia, from the Arctic to the Mediterranean. I have no compunction about listing any of them. In this, I am probably like most white Americans. But there is only one box I could check that would give me an advantage: I am Hispanic.
If you needed the job, and you could check a box that would give you an advantage – or guarantee you the job you desire – and could rationalize your way clear to do it, why would you shackle yourself to the ball and chain of being white in America today?
We shouldn't be too hard on Elizabeth Warren for her sleight of hand with the race box. If we don't like what she did, or we would ridicule her, let's take a look at the real villain: the discrimination of affirmative action itself. We should have arrived at a place by now in America where we can freely reward or recognize those who make the best scores, whether they happen to be of African, Asian, American Indian, or European ancestry. Science and technology now enable us to run DNA tests that can pinpoint all of this data, but what on Earth does it really matter?
Do we want the best candidates to get into medical school? That would be in everyone's best interest, after all. A patient can come in any color and from any ancestry. Would he want the best doctor? A professor is the key person in the education scheme whereby a student indentures himself to literally a lifetime of debt in order to earn a degree. Isn't it in our best interest to ensure that the most qualified people get those jobs, at least as far as we are able to quantify "best" in terms of teaching (always a difficult formula to evaluate)? Do we want a quota system dictating the makeup of our police force?
It is time to put those race survey sheets in the shredder and not ask those questions, but instead concentrate on the qualities of the individual applying.
My father was head of an enterprise large enough to come under the scrutiny of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In his profession and geographic area, no Hispanic candidates ever applied for certain technical positions in the company. Quotas were not being met. There was intense pressure to hire an Hispanic person in this capacity. Finally, someone with a Portuguese ancestor applied and was hired. Who was well served, aside from the successful applicant? This man did not identify as "Hispanic" in any other way. Like Warren, he saw an opportunity and took it. It was a sham, typical of the kind of monster bureaucracy America has become.
We have seen worse results. Mohammed Noor, you may recall, was a star hire for the Minneapolis Police, their first Somali Muslim officer. It didn't work out. The police used race and religion instead of aptitude and qualifications, and Noor is now off the force – after shooting a woman in cold blood. Who might have had the job instead had race and religion not been the sole criteria?
The "bad guy" is not Donald Trump. The culprit is a system that rewards some because of race or ethnicity – or religion – and not on merit. It is the antithesis of the American way, the American dream, and the intent of the Constitution and our laws. It is an abomination of them.
Let's take this opportunity to put an end to this nonsense and start looking at individuals as themselves, not as representatives, willing or not, of some special group.